- Ohio gained its first World Heritage site, becoming the 25th in the United States and one of about 1,000 sites around the world.
- The African nation of Rwanda had its first two inscriptions on the World Heritage List.
- Three new ‘Sites of Memory’ — places in which an event occurred that a nation and its people, or certain communities wish to memorialize, according to UNESCO — were added during the session.
Since its founding in 1972, the World Heritage Convention has inscribed sites of “outstanding universal value,” and after the 45th session held this month, the total of sites now stands at 1,199.
The inclusion of Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks — Ohio’s first World Heritage site and the 25th in the United States — marks the first addition of a cultural site to the World Heritage List since the U.S. rejoined UNESCO earlier this year, according to the Newark Advocate, part of USA TODAY Network.
Only countries that sign the convention creating the World Heritage Committee and list can nominate sites and former President Donald Trump officially withdrew the U.S. in 2017, citing “anti-Israel bias” due to UNESCO’s decision to recognize Palestine. Funding to the organization was cut off under the Obama administration after it voted to include Palestine as a member in 2011, so Trump’s decision was mostly symbolic, USA TODAY previously reported.
What does UNESCO stand for?
UNESCO is the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.
What are UNESCO World Heritage sites?
UNESCO seeks to conserve sites by encouraging “the identification, protection and preservation of cultural and natural heritage around the world considered to be of outstanding value to humanity,” according to its website.
“World Heritage sites belong to all the peoples of the world, irrespective of the territory on which they are located,” the website statates.
UNESCO sites in the United States
In chronological order beginning in 1978 through 2023, here are the 25 sites located in the U.S. inscribed on the World Heritage List.